Egyptian Death Sentences for Those Who Involved in “Innocence of Muslims” — and Apparently for Several Uninvolved Coptic Activists

The AP reports that an Egyptian court has sentenced seven Egyptian Coptic Christians, plus American pastor Terry Jones, to death in absentia. (All are now outside the country, so the sentence won’t have any legal effect on them unless they return, or go to a country — likely a Muslim one — that is willing to extradite them to Egypt.) The sentences are to be automatically reviewed by Egypt’s “chief religious authority” over the next two months. “Egypt’s official news agency said the court found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information.”

Those convicted include Mark Basseley Youssef, who was the chief creator of the film, Terry Jones, who was involved in its distribution, and Morris Sadek, who posted clips from the film; but they also include several Coptic activists who have opposed the Egyptian regime but say they have nothing to do with the film. “They include two who work with Sadek at a radical Coptic group in the U.S. that has called for an independent Coptic state, a priest who hosts TV programs from the U.S.[,] a lawyer living in Canada who has previously sued the Egyptian state over riots in 2000 that left 21 Christians dead,” and “a woman who converted to Christianity and is a staunch critic of Islam.”